How do you explain the ma'mar that a baal teshuva, zedonos na'asos k'zechuyos?
Everyone knows that b'mokom sh'balei teshuva omdim ein tzadikim gemurim yecholim la'amod, a place where a baal teshuva stands, a tzadik gamur is not worthy to stand in the same place.
Now pay attention however! If the tzadik gamur and the baal teshuva together are right now on the same degree, same madreiga of perfection, realize that the baal teshuva had to fight against his training. He had to fight against his past, so l'fum tzara agra, it was difficult for him to become what he is today. Hakadosh Baruch Hu says, all the troubles that you had once, the wrong environment, it all becomes like a zechus, because you overcame it, you've fought against it.
Therefore if the tzadik gamur is no better than you are, he got it the easy way, he was brought up that way, he got kavod by being a nice boy, kavod for being a nice yeshiva man, or a nice girl, and therefore it came easier for him, although he has a big zechus too, but the zechus of the baal teshuva is greater.
But suppose the tzadik gamur is more than the baal teshuva; even after he did teshuva, the baal teshuva is not as big as the tzadik gamur, then the tzadik gamur is superior, no question about that.
So always try to be a tzadik gamur, and be beyond what the baal teshuva has accomplished.
Good Shabbos To All
This is transcribed from questions that were posed to Harav Miller by the audience at the Thursday night lectures. To listen to the audio of this Q & A please dial: 201-676-3210